The Rod of Comfort: Parenting with Gentleness

My little bugger.

My little bugger.

Three and a half years ago, I became a parent. I remember it vividly. It was like being thrown into the Arctic Circle without a parka. I had no idea what I was doing. I went to the hospital to give birth, and, afterward, a nurse handed me a baby and said, “Here you go.” I said, “Where’s the instruction manual for this thing??” Continue reading

Asking for the Fire

In my last post, I wrote about becoming a living sacrifice by placing oneself on the altar of sacrifice–the place of spiritual purification. Today’s post is a bit of a continuation of that. Because you don’t have a sacrifice until God sets fire to it.

The Bible contains many verses on the subject of fire. And some of them are pretty tough to swallow:

“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:40-42).

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“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned” (John 15:5-6).

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“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:7-9).

Many ministers teach that the fire spoken of in the Bible is a terrible thing. And I suppose it can seem that way when people begin speaking about eternal judgment. But here are a few things God has shown me about fire in the scriptures: Continue reading

Rethinking Faith: Lord, Help My Unbelief!

I’m so ecstatic to be writing this post today! I just know it’s going to bring a great revelation to someone. I myself want to go whooping around the front yard with joy. But first, I have to tell you a story.

Several months ago (in the early summer) I was sitting in a Sunday morning service with a communion cup in my hand, listening to my pastor speak about the healing power of Christ’s blood. He said that it was possible to receive healing from communion if one had the faith.

At the time, I desperately needed healing. I had been struggling for 18 months with a digestive disorder that was becoming progressively worse. It had started as an occasional bout of diarrhea whenever I ate greasy fast food. But within a few months, it had devolved into any fast food. Then greasy food cooked at home. Then every night after dinner, no matter what I ate. The diarrhea was soon accompanied by crippling stomach cramps. I began to dread dinner. I cut pizza, sausage, bacon, ground beef and other heavy foods out of my diet. (I also had to cut out lettuce and ranch dressing, because that set me off, too. So no salad.) I began monitoring the amount of food I ate at night to prevent my stomach from becoming too full, another trigger. These changes reduced some of my symptoms, but did not eliminate them. I had just purchased a vegan cookbook, thinking that a drastic dietary change might be the only way to bring permanent relief. In the meantime, I had undergone a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, an ultrasound, and several blood and stool labs. The term “IBS” (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) was tossed around. But the doctors could not come to any definitive diagnosis. And for one problem they did manage to identify, they could not prescribe the antibiotic used to treat it. There was a nationwide shortage.

Now, here I sat with a communion cup in my hand. My last hope. Continue reading

Heretical Ministry, or How to Make Atheists researching for my series on the Holy Spirit, I came across an atheist forum engaged in a discussion on speaking in tongues. What I read disturbed me. It wasn’t that the forum participants were calling it “satanic gibberish” and mocking the Bible. That’s to be expected. It’s that some shared stories that reveal just how deep the roots of heresy have grown in the charismatic movement–and how it’s tearing people away from God.

This is the story I can’t get out of my head. Fair warning: it contains strong profanity. I won’t remove it all because it expresses exactly what this young man felt, and he deserves to be heard with his own voice. However, I have edited elsewhere for length and clarity. Continue reading

What does the Holy Spirit feel like?

I’ve noticed that my articles on the Holy Spirit are getting some good traffic. It seems many people are curious about Him. And it’s no wonder. The Holy Spirit is a mysterious and powerful entity. When Jesus sent Him to the disciples at Pentecost, there was a sound like a rushing wind that brought half the city to the disciples’ doorstep. The disciples saw flames settle over their heads and spoke in foreign tongues. And that tradition continues in many churches. People under the power of the Spirit have seen visions, heard heavenly voices, prophesied, danced, spoken in tongues, received miraculous healing, and overcome addiction. Some have described the Holy Spirit as thus: In the Old Testament, God was above us. When Jesus came, he was God with us. The Holy Spirit, however, is God in us. That’s a pretty weighty thought to digest.

Many believers hesitate to receive the Holy Spirit because they’re not sure what to expect. The thought of prophesying, speaking in tongues or dancing in front of their church unnerves them. They don’t want to look foolish or make a mistake. Continue reading